Advent the precursor of Christmas as John the Baptist was the precursor of Christ.
Advent! preparing the way for the celebration of the birth of Christ;
Just as John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah exhorting people to turn away from sin as the kingdom of heaven was nigh.
Manifesting himself as an ascetic; clothes of camel skin and food of locusts and honey he was the voice crying out in the wilderness for repentance and turning to the Lord.
He cleared the way for the coming of the Messiah declaring”
He is one the latchet
of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloosen”.
When he was asked if he was the Messiah.
So vociferously and eloquently did he proclaim the coming of the promised one.
So too for us Advent is a preparation for the great coming for the great celebration of the birth of the Messiah.
Waits Oh come divine Messiah...
The world in silence the day.
Advent is ushered with the Advent wreath of four candles on the flower- entwined candle holder symbolic of the season.
During the four Sundays prior to Christmas one candle is lit each Sunday at the beginning of the Sunday service.
The first candle stands for John the Baptist; the second symbolizes Bethlehem the city where Christ was born-the hub of the event.
The third for the shepherds to whom legend states the birth was first announced.
The fourth for the star which shone over Bethlehem proclaiming the birth of the Christ Child...
Advent is a profound reflection of what the coming of Christ implies.
The Christ Child should be welcomed spiritually through penance, - purification, in the river of confession, repentance and prayer.
It is a prayerful awaiting; a spiritual awakening.
Then only will we be ready to welcome the Messiah truly.
Today more than in any period in history we need a Second Coming. The world is rife with evil;
Strife among nations; strife within nations; bitter combat, thieving, blasting Massacring; life so cheap, violence abounding.
Man’s inhumanity to man screams out in deafening tones with hardly a hearing.
Today we need the peace of that holy night.
The peace that pervaded that humble stable where the Prince of Peace was born.
We need not only peace at large but peace within our own hearts because it is from that focal point that we can radiate peace.
Peace is not in the glamorous advertisements of sundry goods screeching for attention, nor in the gorgeously dressed shop windows.
Certainly not in the insistent tramp of hurrying feet thronging the city.
Nor in the gourmet and exotic food and drink at plush hotels with their ambience and music.
The world has commercialized this great yet simple birth;
It has taken commercial mileage of a profound and sacred event.
Peace is where the crib is; the lowly manger, the lowing cattle.
The thought provoking stable is a reminder of the miserable conditions in which a great spectrum of the world’s population wallow in.
Today we need to bring back the sanctity into Christmas.
Not so much the merry, jolly Christmas but a peaceful meaningful Christmas; sharing the largesse God as given us with the less privileged, not indulging in satiation of our own selves.
It is good for us to understand how the other half of the world lives - in our own particular world, in our own country, those who are unaware its Christmas time at all.
Why wait till Christmas?
We can start from Advent Reach out to others in bounty and generosity.
Reach out to others in reconciliation and goodwill.
Along the path of Advent may we
journey on to a meaningful Christmas.